DP2016/6 Sharing the City: Urban Growth and Governance in Suva, Fiji

SSGM Discussion Paper

Author/s (editor/s):

Tarryn Phillips, Meg Keen

Publication year:

2016

Publication type:

Discussion paper

As part of a broader study of urbanisation by the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) program at the Australian National University, this paper outlines some of the tensions and innovations that have occurred in Suva with respect to urban development and informal settlements over the last decade. ‘Informal settlements’ is an umbrella term used in this paper to encompass settlements of ‘squatters’ (the vernacular term for those who reside on freehold or state land without legal title), and people who have made informal arrangements with owners to reside on customary land. Both situations tend to mushroom in rapidly urbanising contexts, and Fiji’s attempts to grapple with this and other urban issues might be applicable across the Pacific region. The research involved reviewing government documents and literature, and conducting interviews with high-level government officials in the Ministry of Lands, Department of Housing, Suva City Council and Nausori Town Council, as well as with key community stakeholders. We consider the lessons that can be learnt from Suva’s experiences and the challenges that lie ahead. In particular, we are concerned with addressing issues of exclusion, inequality, and access to urban land and shelter.

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